May 14, 2010

Indian traditional medicine gets pharmacopoeia commission

Indian traditional medicine received a major boost on Thursday with the cabinet sanctioning Rs.14.08 crore for establishing a pharmacopoeia commission to set and maintain standards in the sector.

“The union cabinet today approved the establishment of a pharmacopoeia commission for ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, unani, siddha and homeopathy (AYUSH),” Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni told reporters after a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

“It is estimated that the global market for traditional and herbal medicines is worth $62 billion, of which China’s share is $19 billion. India still has a long way to go to increase its share and the establishment of the pharmacopoeia commission for AYUSH is a very important step in this direction,” Ms. Soni explained.

The cabinet also sanctioned Rs.14.08 crore to be spent over the next two years on establishing the pharmacopoeia commission, which will function from the health ministry-controlled Pharmacopoeial Laboratory for Indian Medicine (PLIM) at Ghaziabad on the outskirts of New Delhi, an official said.

“It is envisaged that the commission will become self-reliant in five years,” the official said.

“Right now, various people are doing various things. Ramdev is doing something and Shahnaz Hussain is doing something else. Everyone is doing a good job, but given that there are some 1,000 drugs and an equal number of compound formulations (in the traditional medicine sector), standards need to be developed.

“The identity, purity and strength of raw materials need to be laid down and standard operating procedures need to be worked out for the manufacture of AYUSH drugs,” the official explained.

“We also need a national repository of Indian traditional medicine and hence the need for an autonomous society headed by an eminent technical person,” the official added.

The government said last month that it was making all efforts to mainstream the AYUSH sector through quality control and holistic medical education.

“The National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) is the main vehicle to achieve the goal. The NRHM seeks to open up local health tradition and mainstream AYUSH including the manpower and drugs and to strengthen the public health system,” Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare S. Gandhiselvan said at a conference here.

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